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Angel di Maria's current form: will he haunt Real?

Angel Di Maria's current form: will he haunt Real Madrid?

February 12, 2018 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The ex-Blanco is coming back to town with PSG and, considering his current form, a lot of questions could be asked in Wednesday’s crunch encounter.

Real Madrid will be aiming to hit some level of consistency by securing a win over French heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain at the Bernabeu. Zinedine Zidane’s side has had an appalling campaign in their La Liga defense and has relatively endured a topsy-turvy spell in the UEFA Champions League this season. Who would have thought that a side that won the European trophy for the second time in succession in less than 10 months ago could go off the rails in no time?

Having finished second behind Tottenham Hotspur in the group-stages, a tough draw in the knockout stage of the UCL was certainly inevitable. Fast forwarding to this moment, Los Blancos’ chances of saving their season only lies in the ultimatum of progressing to the next stage of the tournament at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain. Although Madrid got the better of the French heavyweights the last time both sides met in the 2015/16 season’s group stage, the same cannot be easily said for the upcoming clash, thanks to the Parisians' recent acquisitions of attackers Mbappe and Neymar Jr.

Nevertheless, while Zinedine may be coining up a contingency plan for these two, there is the possibility that a third-party who has had a rapid rise in form in recent times could do the damage at the Bernabeu. His name is Angel Di Maria and he was once a fan’s favorite at the sacred arena. Despite the arrival of Mbappe and Neymar demoting him to the bench, the 29-year-old Argentine seems to be gaining the trust of manager Unai Emery with his recent performances.

The renaissance Angel Di Maria has scored seven goals since the turn of the year. He stole the spotlight with his hat-trick in PSG’s Coupe de France quarter-final game against Sochaux and further put in an immense shift in his side’s weekend win over Toulouse despite failing to get on the scoresheet after his mid-week feat. It is, as a result, not surprising that his fellow striking partner Kylian Mbappe suggested he gets the nod in the starting 11 to feature at the Bernabeu, come February 14. 

"We all know very well how important Di Maria is to us," Mbappe declared, according to Goal.

"When he is like that, it's good for the whole team and it allows us to win a few games in a row.

"Yes, he deserves to start against Real Madrid, but I'm not the coach. But he does some beautiful things. It's great for everyone."

In much candor, Di Maria’s inclusion in the starting lineup could indeed yield many dividends for Unai Emery’s side. Mbappe could be a nuisance if featured against Real Madrid but in games of such magnitude, Di Maria’s experience in the European competition could be invaluable to the final outcome. Once upon a time, the 29-year-old winger scored two stunning goals as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Barcelona 4-0 at the Parc des Princes in another last 16 tie, although the Catalans did the unprecedented to overturn the deficit at the Camp Nou.

That withstanding, it will be a spectacle should Unai Emery resort to Di Maria’s resourcefulness of being a former Blanco and deploy him on his favorite right wing. His form in the UCL this season may be worrying considering he has scored just once in four outings. However, with the current form he is in, a masterclass performance could be on the cards should the birthday boy be lined up at the Santiago Bernabeu.



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Group A
Jun 14 11:00amMoscow
Russia vs Saudi Arabia
Jun 15 8:00amYekaterinburg
Egypt vs Uruguay
Jun 19 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
Russia vs Egypt
Jun 20 11:00amRostov-on-Don
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia
Jun 25 10:00amVolgograd
Saudi Arabia vs Egypt
Jun 25 10:00amSamara
Uruguay vs Russia
Group B
Jun 15 11:00amSaint Petersburg
Morocco vs Iran
Jun 15 2:00pmSochi
Portugal vs Spain
Jun 20 8:00amMoscow
Portugal vs Morocco
Jun 20 2:00pmKazan
Iran vs Spain
Jun 25 2:00pmSaransk
Iran vs Portugal
Jun 25 2:00pmKaliningrad
Spain vs Morocco
Group C
Jun 16 6:00amKazan
France vs Australia
Jun 16 12:00pmSaransk
Peru vs Denmark
Jun 21 8:00amSamara
Denmark vs Australia
Jun 21 11:00amYekaterinburg
France vs Peru
Jun 26 10:00amSochi
Australia vs Peru
Jun 26 10:00amMoscow
Denmark vs France
Group D
Jun 16 9:00amMoscow
Argentina vs Iceland
Jun 16 3:00pmKaliningrad
Croatia vs Nigeria
Jun 21 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
Argentina vs Croatia
Jun 22 11:00amVolgograd
Nigeria vs Iceland
Jun 26 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
Iceland vs Croatia
Jun 26 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
Nigeria vs Argentina
Group E
Jun 17 8:00amSamara
Costa Rica vs Serbia
Jun 17 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
Brazil vs Switzerland
Jun 22 8:00amSaint Petersburg
Brazil vs Costa Rica
Jun 22 2:00pmKaliningrad
Serbia vs Switzerland
Jun 27 2:00pmMoscow
Serbia vs Brazil
Jun 27 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
Switzerland vs Costa Rica
Group F
Jun 17 11:00amMoscow
Germany vs Mexico
Jun 18 8:00amNizhny Novgorod
Sweden vs Korea Republic
Jun 23 11:00amRostov-on-Don
Korea Republic vs Mexico
Jun 23 2:00pmSochi
Germany vs Sweden
Jun 27 10:00amKazan
Korea Republic vs Germany
Jun 27 10:00amYekaterinburg
Mexico vs Sweden
Group G
Jun 18 11:00amSochi
Belgium vs Panama
Jun 18 2:00pmVolgograd
Tunisia vs England
Jun 23 8:00amMoscow
Belgium vs Tunisia
Jun 24 8:00amNizhny Novgorod
England vs Panama
Jun 28 2:00pmKaliningrad
England vs Belgium
Jun 28 2:00pmSaransk
Panama vs Tunisia
Group H
Jun 19 8:00amSaransk
Colombia vs Japan
Jun 19 11:00amMoscow
Poland vs Senegal
Jun 24 11:00amYekaterinburg
Japan vs Senegal
Jun 24 2:00pmKazan
Poland vs Colombia
Jun 28 10:00amVolgograd
Japan vs Poland
Jun 28 10:00amSamara
Senegal vs Colombia
Knockout Stage

Round of 16
Jun 30 10:00amKazan
[1C] vs [2D]
Jun 30 2:00pmSochi
[1A] vs [2B]
Jul 1 10:00amMoscow
[1B] vs [2A]
Jul 1 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
[1D] vs [2C]
Round of 16
Jul 2 10:00amSamara
[1E] vs [2F]
Jul 2 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
[1G] vs [2H]
Jul 3 10:00amSaint Petersburg
[1F] vs [2E]
Jul 3 2:00pmMoscow
[1H] vs [2G]
Quarter Final
Jul 6 10:00amNizhny Novgorod
[W49] vs [W50]
Jul 6 2:00pmKazan
[W53] vs [W54]
Jul 7 10:00amSamara
[W55] vs [W56]
Jul 7 2:00pmSochi
[W51] vs [W52]
Jul 10 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
[W57] vs [W58]
Jul 11 2:00pmMoscow
[W59] vs [W60]
Third place match
Jul 14 10:00amSaint Petersburg
[L61] vs [L62]
Jul 15 11:00amMoscow
Final: FIFA World Cup 2018